Distributing the Four Gospel Records? #2

Sunday, March 3, 2019

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24 KJV).

To whom was Christ’s earthly ministry directed?

It is assumed that Jesus’ utterances in Matthew through John are the most authoritative in Scripture. Are the words of God the Son really greater than those of God the Spirit? Do the Holy Spirit’s words in Genesis through Malachi carry less weight than Christ’s words of His earthly ministry? Certainly not! What we need to understand is not only who is speaking, but to whom is it addressed. If God is talking, but to someone other than us, do we have the right to claim those Divine utterances as ours? Absolutely not!

Christ’s earthly ministry is based on Israel’s covenants: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [Jews] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8). He was sent to Israel only in Matthew through John (today’s Scripture; cf. Matthew 10:5-7; John 4:22); we Gentiles (non-Jews) are not in view. What He taught therein was designed to re-orient Israel toward the pure Law system from which they had drifted (Galatians 4:4; Matthew 8:4). His doctrine prepares an earthly people who have an earthly hope: “The meek… shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). Doctrine in the Four Gospel Records depends on Israel rising to kingdom glory (Luke 1:15-17,67-79).

Now, contrast that with the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul. Paul is God’s apostle—or “sent one,” spokesman—to us Gentiles (Romans 11:13; cf. Acts 26:14-18). We are under grace not law (Romans 6:14,15). We have no claim to earth, as our destiny is the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6,7). Israel is currently fallen (Romans chapters 9–11); hence, her doctrine in Matthew through John is not the most recent Divine revelation.

Matthew through John are certainly inspired of God. We should read, study, and believe them. Nevertheless, they are not God’s Word to or about us. It is no more appropriate to make them fit us than it is to say that we must obey Genesis chapter 6 and prepare for a global flood by building a giant boat. Indeed, right division is key to understanding the right Gospel and enjoying victorious Christian living….

Striving, Not Striving #3

Friday, February 8, 2019

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord (Philippians 4:1,2 KJV).

Rather than striving with each other, we saints need to strive together.

Of all the tens of thousands of “Christian” assemblies, many are simply specimens of denominationalists as opposed to members of the Church the Body of Christ. They have neither known the clear Grace Gospel nor believed it. Most of all, saved or lost, the vast majority are spiritually immature. To them, drapery colors, upholstery fabrics, flooring, and wallpaper are worth fighting over. They, ignorant of sound Bible doctrine, cannot contend for the more excellent. Envy and gossip, not Bible study and charity, pervade their services. They engage in philanthropy but not spirituality.

In today’s Scripture, two Christian women are striving with each other concerning some unspecified disagreement. Whatever the case, it was a petty issue causing major disruption. There is a running joke, with some basis, that these believers in Christ are “Odious” (as obnoxious or unbearable) and “Soon-touchy” (as grumpy or quarrelsome). Notice Paul—yea, the Holy Spirit—never bothered to say whether Euodias was right or Syntyche was right. Why? Ultimately, they were both wrong! They were reminiscent of the childish, schismatic saints at Corinth from years earlier: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

The undisclosed issue between Euodias and Syntyche was not one of doctrine—for we should always contend for the faith, defend the doctrine—but something insignificant. It was not worth fighting over. Time and energy would continue to be wasted in pursuing this trivial matter that was hindering God’s ministry at Philippi. Rather than striving together for the Gospel, they were full of strife and thus contrary to the Gospel. Essentially, they were doing the Devil’s work for him! Satan does not have to labor, for even Christians, unfortunately, can (and often do) undermine God’s work….

Striving, Not Striving #2

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord (Philippians 4:1,2 KJV).

Rather than striving with each other, we saints need to strive together.

Back in Genesis chapter 17, the LORD God erected what Ephesians 2:14 calls “the middle wall of partition.” The term “the Circumcision” was synonymous with the nation Israel, Abraham’s seed; everyone else, the Gentile world, was “the Uncircumcision.” Abraham and his seed were to be physically circumcised to show themselves separate from the nations (see Genesis 17:9-14). This is Israel’s rise via the Abrahamic Covenant (cf. Genesis 12:1-3). However, with the introduction of the Dispensation of Grace, Paul’s salvation and ministry, we see Israel’s fall—and “the middle wall of partition” being obliterated.

Ephesians chapter 2 again: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

“[14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [18] For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

Jew and Gentile—once hostile opponents—have been made one in the Church the Body of Christ because of Calvary. If God can join these two rival classes into one creature, then all other antagonism should be aside with respect to the Dispensation of Grace….

Striving, Not Striving #1

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord (Philippians 4:1,2 KJV).

Rather than striving with each other, we saints need to strive together.

Philippians chapter 1 says, “[27] Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; [28] And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.” Like the Ephesians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, the Philippians are spiritually mature (yet not sinless). The Holy Spirit corrects their thinking: their lifestyle should reflect the Gospel of Christ. What is “the Gospel of Christ?” The Bible defines it for us.

First, Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Now, 1 Corinthians 1:17,18: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” The Gospel of Christ is the Good News that Israel’s rejected Messiah, the Lord Jesus, is now become the fully-satisfying payment for all the sins of the world!

This issue of the world—“the Jew first, and also to the Greek”—is of prime importance. Ephesians chapter 2: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:….” Through Christ’s crosswork, bitter enemies have been united….

Wise or Foolish? #6

Monday, February 4, 2019

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:…. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…” (Matthew 7:24,26 KJV).

Dear friends, are we wise—or foolish?

In Israel’s prophetic program and our mystery program, having the right doctrine is essential. Without sound Bible doctrine, we will fall for Satan’s lie program. Millions of confused people currently attend “Christian” church services. They could not identify the truth if their lives depended on it. Millions upon millions more—those in the world religions—do not use the Holy Bible at all. If anyone is using Scripture, it is often not handled dispensationally. Dear friends, it is not enough to have Bible doctrine; it is much more important to have sound Bible doctrine.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We must, must, must (!) rightly divide God’s Word—making the distinctions that He Himself has already made. Therefore, Paul spoke of himself as “a wise masterbuilder” (1 Corinthians 3:10), and warned us to be careful what we build into our inner man. If it is not God’s wisdom for this dispensation, His knowledge for this dispensation, His understanding for this dispensation, then it is not applicable to this dispensation. The Lord Jesus Christ gave to the Apostle Paul “the Dispensation of the Grace of God,” and he gave it to us Gentiles (Ephesians 3:2). If we disregard Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we will be just as unwise as the foolish man of today’s Scripture. We will be susceptible to Satan’s wiles, his tricks, designed to fool us.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ cautioned His audience concerning false prophets. We have many such liars in our midst even now—people who claim to be speaking for the God of the Bible, but they are not. Their words do not match Paul’s inspired writings. May we rather be like the wise man of today’s Scripture, who built on the things Jesus Christ spoke to him….

What is God Doing? #15

Saturday, January 19, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Returning to the opening chapter of Ephesians, we recall one of the Book’s main themes: “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (verses 9-11).

Through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and doctrine, the God of creation has revealed His secret will. In prophecy, Israel’s prophetic program (His plan to reclaim the Earth), He had disclosed only part of His plan for creation. However, while revealing prophecy, He was withholding information—the mystery program (His plan to reclaim the heavenly places). Whatever Father God is doing, no matter where we are on the Bible timeline, there is one ultimate goal: “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” The two realms of creation—Heaven and Earth (Genesis 1:1)—have their respective governmental offices (Colossians 1:16). Overall, universal administrative authority is to be consolidated in Jesus Christ.

Sin has complicated and delayed God’s original purpose in creation. Nevertheless, Scripture shows us a gradual unfolding of how the Creator has wisely devised, arranged, and enacted strategies to bring it about anyway. As we look at the world, we not only see the Creator God at work. We see one chief Adversary opposing it all, a spirit creature who, while wise, is not wise enough to outdo his Creator. It is the work of this evil being that we must now consider….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How should we view dispensationalists of bygone days?

What is God Doing? #14

Friday, January 18, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

After penning nearly three thrilling chapters of doctrine, the Apostle Paul prays for the mature Ephesian saints: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).

What is the breadth of God’s current work? He is bridging the former chasm or division between Jew and Gentile, joining them to make “one new man,” “a new creature,” the Church the Body of Christ, the dwelling-place of His Spirit (Ephesians 2:11-22; Ephesians 3:6,9). What is the length of God’s present work? The Body of Christ was not a “last-minute decision,” but rather something God planned long ago—“before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). It is part of His “eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11).

What is the depth of God’s current work? Ephesians 2:1-9 says He is reaching down to the very pits of sin to be reconciled with such evil creatures (people willfully following Satan, the flesh, and the evil world system). Before we came to faith in Christ, this was our lot! What is the height of God’s present work? As God empowers us members of the Body of Christ to function, He is impacting the “heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3,20-23; Ephesians 2:6,7; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12).

It is Paul’s wish—yea, the Holy Spirit’s objective—that we understand exactly what God is doing….